Courtroom 125 was quickly packed when the doors opened on Friday morning. Gregory Alan Elliott’s family and friends congregated towards the right side of the gallery, Stephanie Guthrie and her supporters on the left, and journalists dotted in-between. The room was overflowing by the time the judge walked in, he first ordered extra chairs and later allowed observers to sit in the empty chairs normally reserved for a jury.
Judge Brent Knazan stepped up to the bench with a whoppingly large 89-page ruling and warned observers to look forward to a long day as he read through all of it. Moments before he started reading, the judge matter-of-factly looked up and said “oh, and Mr Elliott, you’ve been found not guilty.” It came so quickly I looked next to Lauren Southern to confirm, she nodded saying yes and we both tweeted out the good news.
But despite the liberating feeling of the judge’s ruling – Twitter will stay free place for the time being – there was one part that left a bitter taste in my mouth. The judge stated four separate times that Elliott had made homophobic comments, a stain on a historic and important court victory. I was having a difficult time reconciling my conversations with Mr Elliott with the person who wrote “Enjoy your AIDS, #TOpoli faggots”. How could this be the same man? Well, it turns out it wasn’t Elliott’s tweet.